Representative of IHVN Chief Executive Officer, Pharm. Moses Haggi addresses journalists at the ANHEJ conference.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Patrick Dakum, has urged the media to be agents of behavior change by communicating accurate and timely information to the public and to decision makers.
Dr. Dakum said this at the 5th Annual Conference of the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ) in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The CEO, who was represented by IHVN Senior Program Officer, Pharm. Moses Haggi, said that effective communication is one of the best practices required to sustain public health programs in the country.
“Information dissemination is critical in mitigating the spread of communicable diseases. We have seen its importance in fighting HIV and creating awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic. The media is a critical stakeholder in sustaining health awareness, and in promoting a healthy society,” he said.
The CEO further called on the over 50 health reporters at the conference to advocate for greater commitment by the government to fund programs in the country.
“Media needs to ensure that the government understands their role of ensuring proper funding for health by telling compelling stories that will bring about government action,” he said.
President of ANHEJ, Mr Hassan Zagi said that the conference themed, “Improving Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccine in Nigeria Beyond 2021: The Role of the Media,” was aimed at encouraging the media to intervene in key national issues.
“This year’s conference is so peculiar because of the issue of people not wanting to take COVID-19 vaccine. We know that it is the sure way to go to stay safe.”
Mr Zagi added that the conference has brought health reporters together to strategize on educating the public about COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have been writing about it but we felt the need to bring together stakeholders to brainstorm to communicate better. We are looking at the option of going from community to community to sensitize people to take the vaccine,” he said.
He thanked the IHVN for supporting the association in organizing the conference.
Representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, Nigerian Union of Journalists, West African Health Organization amongst other organizations, and veteran journalists, made presentations at the two-day conference.